Punjab on Thursday leapfrogged into a new era of development and progress, with Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh launching a slew of milestone welfare projects, including free sanitary pads for high school and college girl students in the state.
Even as he kickstarted the process of the realization of the dream of owning a home for thousands of slum dwellers, the Chief Minister further powered the state’s digital leap with the roll-out of a Rs 75.64 Crore Smart Metering project and an ‘e-Daakhil’ portal for e-filing of consumer complaints.
Youth and the girl child have been earmarked as the beneficiaries of the two other schemes launched virtually by the Chief Minister, dedicated the month of January to the girl child as ‘Dheeiyan Di Lohri’ and also paved the way for distribution of 2500 sports kits to promote health awareness and sports culture among youngsters.
DHEEYIAN DI LOHRI
Launching Dheeiyan Di Lohri, the Chief Minister, in a symbolic gesture, blessed five girl children, along with their mothers, with a shagun of Rs.5100 and baby kits for each. They were identified as Nimrat Kaur and her mother Davinder Kaur from village Fatehgarh Block Majri, Jaisvi Bansal and her mother Nistha Bansal from Kurali, Gurleen Kaur and her mother Gurpreet Kaur from village Baroudi in Majri block, Prabhjit Kaur along with her mother Sarabjit Kaur as well as Khushleen Kaur and her mother Sandeep Kaur from village Majra.
Under the special scheme, a series of events will be held every day across districts, beginning with Mohali district, through the month to mark the occasion of Lohri, which will see congratulatory letters penned and signed by the Chief Minister being handed over to the parents of more than 1.5 lakh girls celebrating their first Lohri this year.
Acceding to the demand of PPCC President Sunil Jakhar, the Chief Minister also announced free sanitary pads to all girl students of high schools and colleges besides those residing in rural areas, especially the slums across the state. Expressing gratitude to the Chief Minister on the move, Punjab Youth Congress president Barinder Singh Dhillon said this step would inculcate a sense of self confidence among these girls.
Social Security, Women & Child Development Minister Aruna Chaudhary said that the concluding event of the Dheeiyan Di Lohri month would be marked by grand celebrations during a state level function at Ferozepur where the parents and grandparents of new born girls would be honoured.
BASERA FOR SLUM DWELLERS
With the launch of the BASERA programme, 2816 slum dwellers in 10 slums of Patiala, Bathinda, Fazilka & Moga districts will get proprietary rights in the first phase. Those living in three slums of Moga will be granted their rights by shifting them to a separate land in Municipal Corporation at Moga Jeet Singh.
On this historic occasion, the Chief Minister handed over ‘Sanads’, thereby conferring proprietary rights to six beneficiaries – Mintu Tandi from Bathinda, Suraj Singh from Moga, Rekha Rani and Paprinder Kumar from Abohar, Bilu and Kailash Kumar from Patiala – in a symbolic step.
Terming this initiative as a milestone step towards inclusive urban development and planning of the state government, Captain Amarinder said he had been nurturing this dream for the past 52 years of his political career. He asked the Local Government department to ensure basic civic amenities including potable drinking water, street lighting and roads to the slum dwellers for a comfortable life.
Local Government Minister Brahm Mohindra said that Punjab was the first state in the country to launch the Chief Minister’s Slum Development Programme ‘BASERA’ to confer proprietary rights to every slum household occupying state government land in a slum in any urban area on the date of notification of ‘The Punjab Slum Dwellers (Proprietary Rights) Act, 2020’, i.e., 1st April 2020.
SMART POWER METERS
Launching the Rs. 75.64 Crore 3-phase Smart Metering project, the Chief Minister said the consumer-friendly scheme will help reduce human error in manual reading through automatic uploading of data. From January 2021 to December 2021, a total of 96,000 meters will be installed across the state by PSPCL under the project, which will also help to curb the malpractice of reading concealment/theft of electricity and improve the reading/billing efficiency and quality, he said.
These meters will enable consumers to view instantaneous/live data as well as the last bill data via PSPCL Consumer App, besides maintaining and regulating power consumption. They will have the option to change meter to prepaid or post-paid. Rebate in tariff is admissible to the consumer under prepaid option and the same meter can be used as a Bidirectional meter for Solar Net metering, said Captain Amarinder Singh. Consumers will not need to visit DISCOM offices to register complaint of wrong meter readings now, he added.
E-DAAKHIL FOR CONSUMERS
The Chief Minister said that the new e-Daakhil portal would help consumers safeguard their rights. It will provide them with an effective mechanism to protect them from exploitation at the hands of traders, and will facilitate them in approaching consumer courts with ease, he said, while launching the portal. Created to enable e-filling of consumer complaints in accordance with the new Consumer Protection Act 2019, which envisages filling of consumer dispute electronically to Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, the portal will facilitate online filling of complaints by citizens/advocates.
Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu said this unique online platform would empower the consumer and protect his interest. He also revealed that with this, the manufacturer would now be held responsible for defective goods along with the seller under the new Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
CRICKET KITS FOR YOUTH
Launching the scheme for distribution of 2500 sports/cricket kits, through community participation especially of the Ludhiana industry, the Chief Minister said it would help promote health awareness and sports culture. It would motivate youth to take up sports in a big way, thus enabling the State to regain its lost glory in the arena of sports both at national and international levels, he said. He hoped the initiative of Punjab Youth Development Board Chairman Sukhwinder Singh Bindra will help inculcate sportsmanship spirit amongst youth, especially those from rural areas as they had scant resources to equip them to excel in the field of sports. He was confident it would help keep youth away from drugs and ensure constructive channelization of their energy.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister distributed sports kits to the five representatives of the sports clubs namely; Dr. Raghbir Singh Banger from Dr. Ambedkar Youth Club Kharar, Kulwinder Singh from Youth Club Mundi Kharar, Bikramjeet Singh from Youth Club Kheri in district Mohali, Satinderpal Singh from Shaheed Bhagat Singh Welfare Club Mansa and Mandeep Singh from Shri Rehru Sports Club Ludhiana.
Sports & Youth Services Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi urged the Chief Minister to allocate additional funds to promote sports culture and health awareness, which is already an integral part of his ambitious programme ‘Mission Tandrust Punjab’ adding he said the department would hold a youth conference in near future.
Meanwhile, PPCC President Sunil Jakhar said that despite apathetic attitude of Centre the Punjab Government led by Captain Amarinder Singh has relentlessly implemented several pro-poor and citizen centric schemes. He congratulated the Chief Minister for bestowing proprietary rights upon the slum dwellers as a New Year gift on the birthday of his father Maharaja Yadavindra Singh.
Earlier, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal asked his Cabinet colleagues to come up with schemes and plans of their respective departments for seeking additional budgetary allocation in the forthcoming annual budget for the year 2021-22, which is already under preparation. He assured them that paucity of funds would not be a constraint in any way, as even though the Centre has withheld State’s share of RDF worth Rs.1200 crore and GST Rs.8000 crore, the ongoing development projects and welfare schemes are still being implemented seamlessly.